I. Introduction: A Short Biography of Britney Spears
II. Psychoanalyzing Britney: What Would Freud Say?
III. The Trait Perspective: Applying the Big Five
IV. The Motives Perspectives: What are Britney’s needs?
I- Introduction: A Short Biography of Britney Spears
Britney Spears was born on December 2, 1981 in Kentwood, Louisiana to James and Lynne Spears. She is the middle child. From a very young age, she enjoyed performing. She used to sing at the church choir, and auditioned to The Mickey Mouse Club at the age of eleven, where she was later selected for the show, which went for a full two years. After the show was cancelled, Britney returned to living a conventional life with her parents and family. When she reached high school, she decided on returning to the spotlight and wanted to try to release her own album. After rejections from a few record labels, she was finally endorsed by Jive records. After that, she flew to Sweden to record her first album in 1998, Baby One More Time, which became a worldwide sensation. Britney’s life has received considerable attention from the media. She has expressed outrage at the lack of privacy she says she suffers from, and did react emotionally to paparazzi at times. According to her official website, Spears has sold more than seventy million albums worldwide. She has also starred in the movie “Crossroads” (2008), received numerous awards, and made several guest appearances on popular TV series and sitcoms. Britney is currently living in California with her two children. She maintains close contact with her manager and her father. At the age of 32, she is still releasing more albums and performing at more concerts. Britney Spears makes an interesting subject for personality analysis due to her widely publicized life, and the high-and-lows she has experienced in both her professional and private lives.
II- Psychoanalyzing Britney: What would Freud say?
Id, Ego, Superego
Sigmund Freud is the father of psychoanalytic psychology and its application to personality. He divided the mind into three components – the id, which concerns itself with the primitive needs and their satisfaction, the superego which is concerned with behavior that conforms to moral, societal, or authoritative standards, and the ego, which employs the ‘reality principle’ and tries to balance between the needs of the id and the demands of the superego. In analyzing Britney Spears, it becomes quite salient that her id is the dominant aspect of her mind. There are numerous instances where Britney Spears went for satisfying her impulsive gratifications, disregarding moral and social constraints. For example, in July 2004, Britney Spears married her childhood friend Jason Alexander during a trip to Las Vegas. The marriage was annulled and lasted for only 55 hours, being one of the shortest marriages recorded. Another instance which emphasizes on Britney’s impulsiveness is her decision to shave her head in a hair salon in California. She also went to have two new tattoos afterwards. Britney’s wedding with Kevin Federline was also impromptu, surprising many friends, family members, and the media. Britney was caught multiple times while driving with her son in her lap, which sparked a lot of media controversy around how caring Britney is as a mother. The pattern of Britney’s spontaneous behaviors continued after her divorce with Kevin. She arrived late to many court hearings, and even missed a few sessions, causing her to lose custody of her two children during that time. Also, she was caught on camera flashing her private parts to some paparazzi who kept following her in California. Instead of trying to solve her problems in a more constructive manner, Britney had opted for lashing out at society, and spontaneous self-gratification, instead. This emphasizes on the id being the dominant factor in Britney’s mind.
References: Friedman, H. S., & Schustack, M. W. (2009). Personality: Classic Theories and Modern Research. (4 ed.). Pearson.
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